Looking ahead to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, it’s striking how often people reflect on that era with a sense of nostalgia.
It’s not the images of death and sacrifice that provoke this feeling. Rather, it’s the notion that different elements of society managed to pull in the same direction for a common goal, despite the hardship. Whether this is justified or not, the feeling is hard to ignore as we witness preparations for events that commemorate what happened in Normandy.
Something, perhaps a bit of cohesiveness, was lost over the last 75 years.
Think of it this way. A total of 73 days passed between the Missouri River’s record rise in St. Joseph and congressional passage of $19 billion in disaster aid legislation.
In between, farmers and communities must have felt a sense of worry as politics and inertia conspired to delay final approval of relief for victims of natural disasters all over the country, from hurricanes in the Carolinas to fires in the West to the widespread damage from Missouri River flooding this spring.
This bill, which heads to the president, will provide money that makes a tangible difference close to home.
In this part of the country, the aid relief will provide $4.5 billion to repair damaged farmland, rebuild infrastructure and compensate farmers who lost crops to floods or other disasters. Other benefits include $3 billion to repair waterways, $2.4 billion in grants for cities and counties recovering from disasters and $1.6 billion for state road departments to fix damage to highways and bridges.
What’s more, unlike past disaster aid, this bill expands relief to farmers who lost grain in storage — a common practice as trade tensions contributed to sluggish prices for some commodities.
Midwesterners are polite people, so there’s no question farmers and rural communities will express appreciation for the assistance, even as a second round of flooding hits some parts of Missouri. You won’t hear much, if anything, in the way of griping about how long it took and how some members of Congress seemed to be playing politics with the livelihood of others.
In the end, 58 people voted against this relief package, although none from Missouri’s delegation.
Maybe there’s some bigger principal involved, or maybe those no votes are among the fortunate ones who haven’t been impacted by some kind of disaster. Good for them.
In the end, members of Missouri’s delegation, including Rep. Sam Graves, did their job in making their voices heard on the importance of this legislation. The outcome is something to celebrate, although the process left much to be desired.